Preckwinkle, Sims provide municipalities with economic development tool
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Finance Chairman John Daley and Cook County Board Commissioner Deborah Sims on Monday delivered on a promise to help 13 municipalities with targeted economic development projects through the Cook County No Cash Bid Program. The basic concept of the program is to assist municipalities and other taxing bodies with the purchase of tax delinquent properties for reuse as private development. Preckwinkle said the program is part of a larger effort on the part of the County to promote economic development. “This is good news for Cook County communities and we’re excited about this. On a local scale, we are trying to help revive areas with new businesses, housing and other types of development projects. These specific projects area designed to generate new property and sales tax from parcels that had once been a drain on municipal resources,” she said. Sims said the program is an effective way of taking tax delinquent properties and turning them into tax revenue generating properties for the local municipality, school district, the County and other taxing bodies. “We call it tax reactivation. That means bringing a property that is off the tax rolls back onto the tax rolls. It’s good for our communities and it’s our hope that these certificates can be put to good use,” she said. Sims, who serves as Chairman of the Cook County Tax Delinquent Subcommittee of the Finance Committee, said that in other cases, the properties are used by the municipality itself. In 2010, the Cook County Department of Economic Development worked with a variety of Cook County departments and elected offices to review almost 500 property index numbers (PINs) for the No Cash Bid Program. After determining that qualifying delinquent taxes were present, municipalities submitted request packages for those properties in hopes they would eventually secure the tax deeds in order to redevelop and improve their communities. Through a collaborative effort with the offices of the Cook County Assessor, Board of Review, Clerk, State’s Attorney and Treasurer and Cook County departments of Real Estate and Revenue, the Economic Development staff presented No Cash Bid requests to the Finance Tax Delinquency Subcommittee of the Cook County Board for approval. With the approval of the board, a certificate of purchase is generated which allows the municipality to petition the Circuit Court of Cook County for a tax deed. Sims said today marks that step in the process and, along with Preckwinkle, presented 99 certificates of purchase to those municipalities that have participated. Over the history of the No Cash Bid Program, the County has assisted 68 municipalities and three townships. The projects highlighted during this round of the program include the construction of a gas station/convenience store, single family homes, municipal projects, such as a first responder training and operations facility, and storm-water management projects, all of which bring much needed resources and services to Cook County residents. Below is a brief description of some of the No Cash Big Program projects that will soon be underway. Village of Bridgeview This one PIN is vacant land that is part of 91st street. It should have been dedicated to the municipality when the area was developed. With a tax deed, the Village of Bridgeview will incorporate the parcel into its roadways and have full access to maintain the land. Village of Burnham The Village of Burnham submitted a request for a tax delinquent catering facility and adjacent parking lot. The Village hopes to develop a multi-purpose recreational center to provide much needed services to its residents. The Village also requested a parcel that is adjacent to the Village Hall in order to expand landscaping and work with the Park District to maintain the existing playground. Village of East Hazel Crest The Village of East Hazel Crest hopes to acquire a tax delinquent restaurant and parking lot. Since road-taking has severely limited the space and ability for a restaurant to successfully operate on the site, the Village hopes to determine a more appropriate use and work towards redevelopment and new property and sales tax revenues for the municipality. Village of Ford Heights The Village of Ford Heights has requested 16 PINs for residential development within their municipal boundaries. New homeowners would increase property and sales taxes. City of Markham City of Markham requested 7 PINs that contain abandoned industrial warehouses in order to redevelopment the structures for a pet food distributor that plans to relocate to the City of Markham. Of the other 21 parcels requested, there are two parcels that are industrial structures and the rest are vacant land to be used in tax generating projects such as a commercial advertising and redevelopment in the Crawford Avenue Industrial Park. Some lots requested will fix local creek drainage issues and add to local park land. Village of Maywood The Village of Maywood hopes to redevelop the five requested parcels into improved lots that will host new businesses such as an auto body parts store, restaurant or other retail ventures. Three of the parcels will enhance the Illinois Prairie Bike Path for resident and visitors. Village of Palos Park This vacant parcel will complete a series of No Cash Bid requests that have helped the Village of Palos Park assemble a park and bike path near the Cal Sag River. Along with acquiring adjacent parcels, these No Cash Bid parcels will help provide outdoor recreation and education once the proposed museum center is completed. Parts of the bike path are already in use. The Village is working with a variety of Chicagoland museums to provide activities and programing to the community and visitors. Village of Phoenix The Village of Phoenix has requested 24 PINs of vacant land for residential development. The Village has successfully redeveloped past No Cash Bid requests into homes for new community members. City of Rolling Meadows The City of Rolling Meadows will maintain this strip of vacant land for storm water retention along Salt Creek. It will be used as green space next to a local shopping center. Village of Schiller Park The Village of Schiller Park has requested one PIN that contains both vacant land and part of Crystal Creek. The request was made so that the parcel could be included as part of the Crystal Creek Flood Control Project which will provide flood management for the municipality and surrounding area. Village of Skokie This one PIN is vacant land is part of Lee Street. It should have been dedicated to the municipality when the area was developed. With a tax deed, the Village of Skokie will incorporate the parcel into its roadways; have full ownership and use of land as public right-of-way. Village of Thornton The Village of Thornton requested one PIN that contains sewer lines and a municipal utility transformer. The Village wants to proceed to tax deed in order to have ownership; maintain the equipment and secure the area. Village of Summit In 2009, the Village of Summit requested the purchase of a tax delinquent, environmentally polluted commercial building. This is the second half of the building. Upon receiving tax deeds to both parcels, the Village will use funds provided by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to remediate and improve the site for future commercial development. Both the EPA and the Village have worked patiently to secure these certificates of purchase over the last few years. The resulting tax deeds and clean-up will be a great success for the collaboration that is focused on improving this Summit parcel.